A global view of Earth Hour

March 27, 2011

The world turned off its lights on March 26 for an hour from 8.30 p.m. local time as a show of support for tougher action to confront climate change.

A global celebration of Earth Hour 2011 from Nicky Loh on Vimeo.

I was given the assignment to not only photograph the event from Taipei, Taiwan, but to produce a multimedia video that showcased the world’s landmarks without lights as part of the fifth annual Earth Hour.

The Taipei 101 building is seen before Earth Hour in Taipei March 26, 2011.  REUTERS/Nicky Loh

The Taipei 101 building is seen during Earth Hour in Taipei March 26, 2011. REUTERS/Nicky Loh

The Reuters online team in Toronto and I had decided to produce a video to illustrate the event with pictures by our photographers around the world. The idea was to fade before pictures with the lights turned on into the exact same image without the lights on.

The most challenging part of this was coordinating with the chief photographers around the world to advise their staff photographers of exactly what I needed in the pictures to make the transitions in the video seamless.

The temple of the Parthenon is pictured after Earth Hour in Athens, March 26, 2011.  REUTERS/John Kolesidis

The temple of the Parthenon is pictured during Earth Hour in Athens, March 26, 2011.  REUTERS/John Kolesidis

These were the instructions given out to everyone:

– No Verticals. It’s hard to fit a vertical photograph into a video production. You often have to crop it into a horizontal or have large spaces of black on the two sides.

– All images should be shot from a tripod – fixed points must line up exactly. This was to ensure that when a cross fade was applied to both pictures, it would be 100% smooth and accurate.

– Both pictures should be exactly the same size so if you crop, set the dimensions to the same height and width. This was to help with my pre-production so that I did not have to photoshop hundreds of before/after pictures to the same pixel size.

– Think about how to show the greatest contrast between lights on and lights off. I advised photographers to shoot on the same exposure settings on manual mode for both before/after. If they were shooting on Program, Shutter or Aperture priority for the after shot, the camera would meter expose for the darkness and make the after shot still look bright. The idea of cross fading from light to darkness would then be defeated.

A general view shows the Badaling section of the Great Wall before Earth Hour on the outskirts of Beijing, March 26, 2010.  REUTERS/Jason Lee

A general view shows the Badaling section of the Great Wall during Earth Hour on the outskirts of Beijing, March 26, 2010.  REUTERS/Jason Lee

The production of the video was a breeze and it took no longer than 3 hours for me to complete the piece which was featured on Reuters.com.

I feel there is added poignancy to this production because of Japan’s nuclear disaster, which raises doubts about nuclear power as a possible solution to the world’s energy needs. The Earth Hour global effort was a show of support for renewable energy and some promoting sustainable energy have seen nuclear power as the answer. The March 11 earthquake and tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in northeastern Japan, sending radioactive material into the atmosphere, have made many think twice.

I send all my best wishes to Japan and hope that the victims will recover soon. I also wish that the world will find a balance between seeking renewable energy to save the climate and preventing disasters like the one in Japan.

Saudi women light candles during Earth Hour at the eastern Gulf coast town of Qatif  March 26, 2011.   REUTERS/Zaki Ghawas


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the global changes are caused indirectly from the rising temperatures of the sun’s corona. the extra “forces” from the sun makes the protective magnetic field of the earth more vunerable. we cannot completely blame ourselves.

Posted by tull | Report as abusive

One day in a year will not be sufficient for earth to repair her self. We have reached the criticality of earth’s capacity self regulate its temperature. Heat being released into environment is doubling linearly and the time for nature convert this heat into biological mass is decreasing. A catastrophes and large scale destruction of humanity is inevitable as James Lovelock warned the world. Humanity can survive and evolve to Golden Age provided it awakens to truth and simple realities of nature – http://www.scribd.com/doc/50194149 and develop nature compatible technologies

Posted by johnpaily | Report as abusive

The effects, or impacts, of climate change may be physical, ecological, social or economic. Evidence of observed climate change includes the instrumental temperature record, rising sea levels, and decreased snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere.Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in concentration. It is predicted that future climate changes will include further global warming.
Free database of eco friendly companies.

Posted by JulianMarrie | Report as abusive